Just Back from our Safari in Kenya and Tanzania

Sep 9th, 2006, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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And you do realise how funny your story is, right? "Jambo" is solely a greeting - it cannot be intrepreted to be calling attention. They must have thought you were high as kites. You're lucky they came at all... if you'd been in town they'd have called the police
kimburu is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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Beetles can be very frightening -- they were about the size of the large NYC cockroaches . . . 3 inches? Anyone, they were disgusting!

Someone asked me to provide more info on my trip. I'm not sure what is the most helpful because so many readers on this site are real veterans. But for what it's worth, I will provide some of my thoughts on our various accomodations:

IL Moran: This camp was our absolute favorite. It was small and intimate, we loved the decor within the tent -- very elegant, the service was incredible (every dining table had their own waiter which remained with you your entire stay), there was electricity after 3PM and outlets for our blowdryer and hair-iron (which broke on the first day of our trip -- I looked like Gilda Radner's Rosanna Dana character on SNL for the duration of our trip -- talk about scary!) Our only problem there was with our hot water. As this was our first trip to Africa and we were staying in a tent, we figured everyone else had lukewarm to coolish water. WRONG! We ended up speaking to them several times about this and they finally got it working for ONE hot shower. Apparently, there was a serious problem with the apparatus? in our tent and we were the only ones to have this problem. In fact, when elephants crashed the camp on the morning of our departure, I told my friend to pass them the message "No Water in Tent #2". (This was really exicting by the way. They walked right by the breakfast area and moved in front of the tents. Two pairs of us were leaving that morning and needed to get our luggage, so the staff started throwing rocks at the elephants to get them to move on. One of them started to CHARGE -- it was all very exciting!

Because I am neurotic and did so much research for this trip, I asked our guide to show us Governor's Camp and Lil Governor's since they are owned by the same people as IL Moran and extremely close by. (That way if I liked those better, I could keep smacking myself the rest of the trip . We liked the main Governor's because it had a large bar area and we thought it might have been more social than IL Moran (my friend and I are two single woman and we were hoping to meet some fellow compadres . . . ). Lil Governor's was particularly "African" and "nature-like" as you have to take a short canoe ride (maybe 50 feet) to get to the property. After that there is a bit of an uphill walk to get to the tents, restaurant, etc. It was really charming! In the end, we decided IL Moran was the most elegant and upscale, and we did meet one German solo male traveler who ended up joining us at every meal.

Amboseli Serena: I really liked this lodge. The exterior was very Polynesian-like with each of the units painted a bright red color, trees all around, vervet monkeys running around all over, lots of socializing going in (this hotel was the most social of the Serenas we visited -- people drinking, listening to the entertainment -- perhaps this was maybe the largest Serena?). Apparently, there are some newly renovated rooms there and we got one -- it had a ceiling fan which apparently is not present in the old ones and was decorated very nicely. My friend put her backpack down to take some pictures of the monkeys in the walkway and one went over to it and started taking out the items from it! It looked almost human with its well-defined hands and coordinated movements! It was all very exciting but my friend had some very expensive stuff in the bag and when she moved forward to retrieve it, the monkey boldly showed us his teeth -- it was pretty wild. We called a housekeeper out of one of the rooms and she started waving a cardboard carton at him and he ran away. Who would have thought? It was very funny!

Kikoti: We also really liked Kikoti. We had tried to get into Swala even at the last minute because we heard it was really nice and owned by A&K. (For Il Moran, we had to pay a supplement of $75 per night/pp to change from Porini or $225 for the three nights. We thought we could do the same with Swala because after all, what's $225 when you are paying upwards of $5,000 for your trip anyway? Sort of like buying a car -- sure, throw in the heated seats, sports wheels, etc.) Swala is also inside the park. However, it was fully booked. We loved the "hut on the stilt" look and the inside was also very elegantly appointed (and I am a pretty tough critic). It differed from IL Moran in that there were no electrical outlets in the room (except for shavers I believe) . . . Imagine double Rosanna Dana . . . in this case, no hair iron and NO BLOWDRYER . . . suffice it to say that I stayed out of all pictures taken during our stay there! There was electricity though. We were supposed to have cold water at all times, and hot water upon request. (Someone would come and play with the tank and we would have it 10 minutes later.) We seemed to be cursed with water problems on this trip, however, and the cold water wasn't running most of the day. (This also impaced toilet flushing.) We mentioned it to the staff, but I guess their are gaps in their English -- so they kept getting the hot water ready whenever we mentioned we had no water! Of course, at that point, you couldn't get cold water because the hot water would come on. Oh well, next time we will study Swahili beforehand . . .

The food was very good at Kikoti but they were a bit less flexible in "custom catering", shall we call it. My friend and I are two NYC babes, and true to the stereotype, try to watch our girlish figures -- i.e. light on the sauce, plain salads, you may know the type. At IL Moran, they offered us substitutions and were happy to do so. Kikoti seemed less equipped to do so.

One other thing that was truly amazing! We were the only people staying at Kikoti the first day we arrived. We thought they were kidding when they told us, but when we arrived at dinner . . . it was only us! Pretty nice if I was with a boyfriend or on my honeymoon -- oh well, needless to say, the service was great that evening and the next morning!

Shall I go on? Is anyone finding this helpful? I am soon going to have to wean myself off of this site as I am becoming addicted. I am thinking of planning my next trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
sueblue is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:49 AM
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The reason for the mossie net is to keep out what is supposed to be out; specifically mossies, but other of god's creatures find their way, especially if you had lights on while inside the netting. And, never spray insecticide over my sleeping area... in the room/tent, yes, but not over the bed linens.

From a fellow New Yorker, Sue, I'm sure you've seen cockaroaches and even itty-bitty mice*; they're here and in some of the finest buildings. Though a beattle wouldn't get me to turn an eye, I'll give you the woolly spider, though never a Daddy Long Legs.

"Jambo" "Jambo", how funny! At least you come home with a tale to tell and you survived. Besides, they take such small bites!

*whenever new construction goes up in this city, the mice go a running - high or low rent; believe me, they like peanut butter on the traps I set.
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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OOPS. When I was talking about loving the hut on the stilt look, etc. -- I was referring to Kikoti and not Swala.
sueblue is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:57 AM
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Sandy -- I think our postings just crossed. I just posted some more detail about the trip.
sueblue is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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Cockroaches are pretty disgusting but bettles are completely cute (although the flying ones give me a bit off a shudder when they land on my head). It's the difference between handling dried elephant dung, sniffing it and staring into the distance - which looks cool as long as you're on safari - and doing the same with fresh doggie-dos, which looks totally gross.

Please tell more stories - it's really a very interesting trip and we'll put it all together later. So far I've got a lot of good information, a couple of minor shocks and at least two very good laughs!
kimburu is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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Yes, please continue. This is not only informative but very entertaining!
Patty is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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I want to see photos of you and your Rosanne Rosanna Danna hair. Don't hold out on us now, Sue.
Leely is offline  

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